I have old wiring going to the garage I want to remove. The wiring runs through old metal conduit in my basement, up the wall on my house and then crosses over to the garage..

I'd like to remove the old wiring as it's in the way of installing gutters. How should I do it - I was thinking of disconnecting the threaded connector what can I replace it with to keep the wiring protected ?!

any better options? I'd rather not mess with the wiring in the basement as it's an old house with historic/unconventional wiring that works but I'd rather not mess with...

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These are I believe connected to the garage circuit, but also supply other parts of the house, so I do not want to mess with it

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edit2: Thanks MadMonty for the explanation. There is a 2nd JB.

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edit3 - opened junction box - per my voltage tester there are 2 hot wires and 1 neutral to/from the garage

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    I'm not sure they're POCO wires... they just look like separated strands that (I'm guessing) originate at a panel. So, OP, can you tell us where those wires go in the basement? Are they buried behind walls, or ever exposed? Can you share a photo of your panel? Commented May 6, 2023 at 19:47
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    Hi wires run through metal conduit, underneath the floor joists. I could confirm that they are connected to the panel, although different than what is labeled on the panel. Suspect that part of the wiring was upgraded, and that this garage part was somehow added to another circuit instead.
    – Hawkeye
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 20:58

1 Answer 1


This assumes you know how to shut off the power to the circuit and confirm it with a voltage sensor, preferably non-contact type. If you can't do this with reasonable confidence, call an electrician. That said....

Are you sure you don't want to relocate the aerial wires to the garage, rather than eliminate them? If you are sure you don't want them, then I would disconnect the wires inside the basement junction box (where the three knob and tube wires come together to go into the conduit). The best place to disconnect an unused line is at its source. Specifically:

  1. With power confirmed off, remove cover from basement JB. Cut and cap each wire with a wire nut.
  2. While you're at it, replace the cover plate on the JB with a flat (no openings). Make a note on it what you've done, especially important if the wiring scheme is old knob & tube, which tends to be confusing enough as is.
  3. Restore the power, verify no voltage on the garage lines with your voltage detector, and then cut them wherever you want (unless you might want power to that location in the future - say for a yard light or the garage, in which case you should leave enough wire, say a foot, protected from sun and rain, to splice inside a future outdoor JB you might add at that time).

OP said: Thank you! I believe that part of my house is supplied somewhere "downstream" that junction box, I will post another picture where I believe the lines separate to supply part of my 1st floor. Also I was under the impression that Knob and Tube only has live and neutral, do you know why there is a third wire ? – Hawkeye yesterday

I guess I misunderstood. I thought you posited the outdoor conduit was fed from that JB, which gets its power from the K&T. Could you just open the JB and disconnect the conduit feed and see what happens throughout the house?

You are correct that K&T has no ground. Some of the possibilities for the third wire are:

  1. It's another hot wire but from the other side of the pole transformer. (Maybe you know all the following explanation and can skip it, but if not, bear with me.) The power from the street comes from a 240V center-tapped transformer; it gives you 120V from each leg to the center-tap neutral. Its colors are black for one hot, white for neutral, and red for the other hot. The voltage from black to white, or red to white, is 120V. From black to red is 240V. This goes to 240V appliances. 120V devices all have white neutrals connected to the main white neutral and their black hots connected about half and half to either the black hot or red hot at the breaker box. Most residential circuits run a black hot and a white neutral to every receptacle, but not all. Under the right conditions (see code) you can use a single neutral for a set of receptacles, and feed half of their hot sides from the black side and half from the red side. So, it is possible that you have one wire from the black side, one from the red, and a shared neutral. You could verify this with a voltmeter if you're careful - you'll see 240 V between two of the wires, and 120 from each of those two to the third.
  2. It could be a return to or from a switch. For example, K&T typically daisy-chained the hot wire to several ceiling lights which each had a single wire returned to a shared neutral via a wall switch.
  3. Could be a hard-to-solve mystery. K&T analysis can be complicated by changes made over the years that were done ad hoc - grab a hot from here and a neutral from there. That can make it pretty confusing when you're troubleshooting or making changes. Sometimes you can trace the wires visually where you can see them, sometimes you can remove a receptacle and/or box from the wall and peer in to see where the wires go (there are cheap endoscopic cameras you can use for this, even through a 1/4" hole in the wall), and there are electronic cable tracers. And there is the "cut and see what changes" method. If you're lucky, you might get the answer quickly.
  • Thank you! I believe that part of my house is supplied somewhere "downstream" that junction box, I will post another picture where I believe the lines separate to supply part of my 1st floor. Also I was under the impression that Knob and Tube only has live and neutral, do you know why there is a third wire ?
    – Hawkeye
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 1:15
  • comment2: Thanks for the additional info! I posted an additional picture, where I believe the wiring splits up between garage and 3 other sections of my house/basement... so do you recommend to disable the circuit, open that junction box, and disconnect what feeds the "navalite" conduit ?
    – Hawkeye
    Commented May 27, 2023 at 13:45
  • Update -- I ended up cutting through the 3 cables at the JB and putting wire nuts on them; it worked, cutting the power to the garage, and retaining power through the rest of the house
    – Hawkeye
    Commented Jun 12, 2023 at 16:54
  • great! sorry missed your previous query, kudos for trying it out and finding success!
    – MadMonty
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 2:44

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